LAS VEGAS -- It was a home game for Bryce Harper, and even though the superstar outfielder for the Washington Nationals didn't take the top prize, he was still smiling.That's because Wednesday night's third annual poker tournament for the Major League Baseball Players Association Players Trust at the MGM Grand
LAS VEGAS -- It was a home game for Bryce Harper, and even though the superstar outfielder for the Washington Nationals didn't take the top prize, he was still smiling.
That's because Wednesday night's third annual poker tournament for the Major League Baseball Players Association Players Trust at the MGM Grand Hotel on the Strip in Harper's hometown of Las Vegas was another smashing success. The tables were full of players from the past and present, the cause was righteous, and the end result was a lot of fun.
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"I'm happy to be here, happy to be involved in any way, and happy to be hanging out with the guys and doing good things for the Players Trust," said Harper, who served as the event's co-host along with St. Louis Cardinals outfielder William Fowler.
"This is always a great event and we all enjoy it."
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The poker tournament took place the night before the annual golf tournament for the Players Trust, a charitable wing of the union that was established in 1996 and gives back to communities with programs such as Buses for Baseball, which brings underprivileged children to MLB stadiums, Action Teams that work with high schoolers to volunteer in their communities, and global international disaster relief.
"It's something that I've been a part of since I got to the big leagues and I definitely jumped at the opportunity [to co-host]," Fowler said. "To be together and discuss our ideas is awesome."
In addition to Fowler and Harper, the sectioned-off area where the tournament took place was full of current and former Major Leaguers, including Hall of Famers Dave Winfield, Ozzie Smith and Eddie Murray, greats Barry Bonds, Eric Davis and Kenny Lofton, plus active players James Loney, Dana Eveland, Chris Capuano, Rajai Davis, Brandon Kintzler and many more.
"The turnout has been tremendous, the support has been great, and we're just hoping that the weather's good tomorrow," MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said with a smile.
"It's a connecting point for our fraternity. Getting the opportunity to get everybody together in the same room for a cause that's very personal to the group is a very easy phone call for us to make. It's our fraternity at its finest and an opportunity for guys to stay engaged and raise money for something we believe in."
The poker tournament is certainly a very Vegas way to do that.
As is always the case with this event, the players wore their jerseys, with the rule that they would have to take them off, sign them, and hand them to whoever knocked them out of the competition. That could be fellow players or members of the general public who bought in.
In the end, Rays reliever Danny Farquhar was declared the 2017 poker champion after a long, epic battle on the tables.
But the Players Trust and the good deeds it does ends up the undisputed winner each year.
"It's something that's special to me, being a part of helping guys keep this going forward," Lofton said. "I feel very inspired about what they're doing, helping so many charities around the world.
"I'm just glad to be a part of it."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.